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In Wat Bo school, tradition and modernity reign

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Students perform a daily routine at Wat Bo Primary School. Photo supplied

In Wat Bo school, tradition and modernity reign

Renowned for firm disciplines, well-mannered students, pleasant environment and an attentive set of teachers and a principle, Wat Bo Primary School in Siem Reap provincial city has made its name throughout the Kingdom and beyond.

Approaching retirement age, the principal, Peng Kimchhen, 58, still has one last ambition, and has set a new goal to enhance the school’s reputation.

During a recent interview with The Post, Kimchhen, who has been in the profession for nearly 40 years, shared his vision and plans for the school’s future.

“I wish to see the school’s standards maintained. I aim to achieve three major goals, with the first being to improve the quality of education.

“I wish to see continuous improvement in our teachers’ knowledge. A study comparing the level of Cambodian teachers’ knowledge at the primary level with those of teachers in Asean countries showed that we lag far behind.

“Some primary school teachers in other countries even have doctoral degrees, and it is my wish that our education system will reach that level one day,” he said.

For now, Kimchhen has initiated computer classes on top of state curriculums, which also include foreign languages – French and English – from grades three to six so students can broaden their horizon.

“Second, we want teachers and students who are the core human resources for the country’s sustainable developments to be healthy,” he says. To this end, Kimchhen plans to construct a three-storey building.

The ground floor would serve as a canteen that offers healthy, chemical-free food and drinks.

The second floor would go digital and provide conveniences such as video conferencing for students and teachers to expand their connections beyond the school compound.

In Kimchhen’s eyes, students are what they think. So for them to attain peace of mind, the third floor would serve as a meditation hall to practice techniques that would lead to having clarity of mind and emotions.

“Third, I wish to see students of the future become well-mannered citizens. We teach them the four basic principles – morality, politeness, virtue and socialising.

The Wat Bo primary school now has a total of 116 teachers and 14 school buildings with 60 rooms.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, the school had a total of 6,376 students, 3,072 of whom were girls. This is a jump from the 2014-15 academic year when it had only 6,090 students.

Kimchhen outstanding leadership earned him the Principal of the Year award bestowed by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in 2014.

Citing a Khmer saying, he says a good school cannot exist without firm discipline, attentive teachers, well-mannered students and caring parents.

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